The Overseas Operation (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill 2019-21 has left the parliament in splits during the debates. It is believed to bring considerable ambiguity and decriminalize torture in a certain way.
About The Bill
The bill aims to make provisions regarding legal proceeding and considerations from the European Convention on Human Rights in connection with the operation of armed forces outside the British Islands. Further, the provisions like ‘restrictions on time to bring actions’, leave space for loopholes and issues for power. It also blocks civil claims against MODs.
The lawmakers believe that the bill will decriminalize torture in a sort. Torture has been illegal for 300 years in the UK, and the bill tries to oppose this. Some members of the Parliament believe the British troops have nothing to do with torture, but in instances such as the Iraq war, the superiors make them bend the rules.
Along with provisions mentioning topics to be given certain weight, the bill mentions how consent is required for high profile legal claims. Provisions like these make the MODs bulletproof in every way. While briefly touching in the offences included, it pays more attention to the overseas operations undertaken.
This bill will affect legal claims brought by service personnel against their MODs. Consequently, it will benefit the politicians and not the soldiers.
Different Opinions In The Parliament
The Defense Minister last year justified how using terms like ‘mock executions’ set a bad algorithm. Members of Parliament believe the government should prioritize giving enough funding to the soldiers, micromanaging their grievances. By backing up this legislation by popular support, it would surely undermine the values that they fight for, some believe.
Along with deterring strong action, this bill will empower the government to make new rules regarding the same, which will bring catastrophe.